'Finnegan's Wake' at The Medicine Show Theatre

Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble present Finnegan's Wake, a new work for the theatre created from the classic modernist novel by James Joyce (�The Dead�), at the Medicine Show Theatre from the 25 Mar - 24 Apr 2005.

Set in a Dublin pub, Finnegan's Wake traces one night in the life of Finnegan, who dreams of primal guilt and is whirled into a comic nightmare as family history and world history become one and the same. The entire Finnegan clan--along with various denizens of the pub--live, fight, drink, dream, assume the roles of mythic & historical figures, and hope that their lives will eventually lead to some kind of spiritual rebirth. Their stories are brought to life as the cast of 10 act, chant, sing, dance, stomp and howl the piece.

Featured in the cast: Yascha Bilan, Irene Califano, Richard De Domenico, Sarah Engelke, Mark Gering, John McConnel, Paul Murphy, Mike Still, Colleen Quigley and Barbara Vann.

Adapted and directed by Obie-Award winning director Barbara Vann with original music by Christopher McGlumphy.

According to Vann, �Finnegans Wake� has haunted her for almost half a century. �My very first encounter with this material goes back to 1958, when I wasa part of Abbey Theatre director Denis Johnston�s staging of �Finnegans Wake� at Mount Holyoke College, which was based on Mary Manning�s free adaptation of the novel for the Poet�s Theatre of Cambridge. When I decided to tackle this project, I went back and looked at those versions and found them a little too sanitized to be true...to Joyce at least. They rearranged the material into dramatic �scenes� rather than following the flow of the original novel. So I decided to keep the work in the order that Joyce wrote it, which meant re-adapting the novel.�

Written over the two decades before its original publication in 1939, �Finnegans Wake� has impressed and confounded literary critics and aficionados the world over with its use of over sixty languages and its unique circular structure. Having tackled the longest day in literature with his �Ulysses,� James Joyce dealt with an even greater challenge in his final work: the night. �A nocturnal state. . . . That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream.� Joyce believed that his �collideorscope� of a novel would become clear to people if they would listen to its music.

Originally published on

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